The much-loved folklorist and teacher Alan Dundes died this week; the San Francisco Chronicle obit says:

Renowned UC Berkeley folklorist Alan Dundes died Wednesday from an apparent heart attack suffered while teaching a graduate seminar on campus.
Dundes, 70, an internationally known figure whose enthusiasm and rigorous scholarship established folklore as a full-fledged academic discipline, died on the way to the Alta Bates-Summit Medical Center in Berkeley, campus officials said.
“Everybody’s in shock,” said the head archivist at Cal’s Folklore Archive, Kelly Revak, her voice breaking as she passed the phone to a colleague.
He collapsed shortly before 4:30 p.m. while conducting a graduate seminar on folklore theory and techniques in Giannini Hall, campus officials said. Ten students are enrolled in the class.

(Here is the UC Berkeley press release, with more details about his life and career and a good picture of him smiling behind a monstrous pile of papers, and here is the MetaFilter thread about him.) Renee, who was in his seminar, asked me to post this because she’s taken offline; my deepest sympathies to her and to everyone who knew Dundes, and I hope she will forgive my expressing the hope that at some point she revives Glosses, which has always been one of my favorite blogs and was an inspiration for this one.


  1. Damn, that’s a shame! I took two classes with Dundes back in the ’70s. He was a great lecturer with a good sense of humor, even when it came to his own neo-freudian interpretive folkloric apparatus.

  2. This is very sad. The Wife and I took his introductory folklore class together back in the day (about 1990), and we remember it fondly. I can’t imagine how the students in his seminar must be feeling.

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